June 2-PAC: Support services for assault victims

Join us on June 12 at 6PM  for the June MPD Second Precinct  PAC meeting.  We meet in the Monroe Village Apartments Community Room, 1900 Central Avenue NE.  2-Pac is free.  It’s a place where you can  report your safety concerns and learn about services available for you.  Our speaker this month is Bronte Stewart-New from the Aurora Center, U of MN.

Several years ago, 2PAC’s monthly State of the Precinct report showed a slight but persistent  rise from month to month in assaults, especially sexual assaults.  2-PAC attenders asked what was going on there?  Was this just in our area or was it all across the precinct or was it city-wide?

While no one could pinpoint a cause but many were wondering if this was actually a rise in reporting of events.  Women were finally starting to report this crime.  Officers wondered if it could have a lot to do with the truth that women are now offered support instead of blame and guilt.

The Inspector mentioned a support service for University of Minnesota and Augsburg students called the Aurora Center and commented we’d probably been reading about it since it’s an Eastside center. True: most U of MN students live in SE and near NE so in that sense it is “their” center.

This topic and the network of allied organizations have been something that needs better public understanding.  Aurora is unique in many ways because it is so clearly focused, but there are other services and official back ups in Minneapolis that, all together, offer strong support for victims.  Over the next several months, 2-PAC will be bringing in speakers to explain how these services offer support and reassurance  and how they work together.

Aurora was formed in 1986 in response to an alleged rape of a young woman by 3 U of MN basketball players.  U of MN President Keller called a group together to root out the culture that enabled  the assault.  This was the start of Aurora.  Other campuses have formed similar services; the movement received real impetus when in 2011 the US Dept of Education sent a letter to colleges and universities across the country, pointing out that permissive campus  culture was a violation of equal opportunity under Title IX.  By then, Aurora’s experience made it the national model for advocacy and culture change.

The Aurora Center’s Mission Statement is, “To serve all victims/survivors/concerned people of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College.”  You can read the full mission statement and much more  on their home page:  http://aurora.umn.edu

Aurora has expanded its original focus to identifying and changing most of the “isms” including racism, ageism, religious oppression and discrimination against people with disabilities — a heavy load.  Our speaker, Bronte Stewart-New, will share their goals, their focus and the means of achieving those goals at the June meeting of 2-PAC.

There’s a good article for background in the Minnpost story, .minnpost.com/mental-health-addiction/2017/01/30-years-aurora-center-still-supporting-u-m-sexual-violence-survivor

We hope to see you on June 12

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